#1 CHOOSE CONTENTMENT

The 12 Choices for Happiness - Number #1 is to choose contentment over dissatisfaction and envy

CHOOSING CONTENTMENT

This month I'm doing a series on choices we can make for a happier life. One of the most important choices is choosing to be content with who and what you have in life. Wishing for more and constantly wanting what others have is such a drain on our emotions and our pool of happiness evaporates rapidly.

CHOOSING CONTENTMENT OVER ENVY

It's so easy to look over our fence and envy what we see others enjoying. There is always someone sharing pictures of their fabulous holiday on Facebook - I have at least three lots of friends touring extensively through Europe at the moment - gorgeous photos of a European Summer while I go through my daily routine in wintery Australia. 

I can choose to wallow in the poor me - I wish I was lazing on a beach, looking at fine art, eating in restaurants in foreign countries etc etc or I can be grateful for the fact that I've been overseas, loved it, but am quite happy in my own little patch of home turf. It's lovely seeing all those photos, and even lovelier if I'm not being jealous of those enjoying their trip of a lifetime. I don't have a driving need to be travelling at the moment, and when the travel bug bites, then it will be my turn to head off and post fantastic pictures - in the meantime I'm not going to drain my contentment with where I am by envying those lucky enough to be on holidays far from home.


Contentment is an awareness of sufficiency, a sense that we have enough and we are enough. It is appreciating the simple gifts of life

CHOOSING CONTENTMENT OVER DISSATISFACTION

There are times when we feel there should be more to life than the daily grind. It's that "Lather/Rinse/Repeat" view of life where we think there should be more to life than going through the motions of daily life. We start picking our job to pieces, wishing we had better hours, better pay, or (even better) a Lotto win so we can retire. We look at our homes and wonder if we should be doing a renovation, or a make-over, or selling and moving on to something better. We look at our partner and wonder if we'd be better off alone or moving on to whatever romantic hero we have conjured up in our brain.

There are so many seemingly bigger and better options waved under our noses every day and we think we should have more - often we're not sure what that "more" is, but we know that if we had it we would be happier. The trouble is that the "more" often comes at a cost - more hours at work, a bigger mortgage, a bigger credit card balance, and a never ending desire to keep moving it up a notch. 

When we stop and appreciate what we actually have, the job that pays the bills, the home that is full of memories, the husband who loves us and knows us better than we think, we start to count our blessings and it grows that sense of contentment and the striving quietens and we feel a sense of happiness in its place.

CHOOSING CONTENTMENT OVER COMPETITION

The "I want what she's having" mantra is a constant siren song in the back of our minds. There are always people we know doing something bigger and better than we are. The desire to compete and better them is a killer. We start striving to be as successful, as thin, as popular, as loved, as talented as others and it grinds our happiness into the ground. The amount of effort involved in trying to match what we perceive others having is exhausting.

We often haven't seen the effort or the pain or the sacrifice it's taken those people to reach the level of success in whatever area we see them excelling in. We just want the same outcome but without the commitment. We think if we had what they have then we'd be happier - and that is so far from the truth. Happiness isn't based on being top dog and competing with others. It's based on knowing who and what is important to us and doing our best in that area - it's about being our best self and being content with that - rather than competing with everyone else.


The 12 Choices for Happiness - Number #1 is to choose contentment over dissatisfaction and envy

CONTENTMENT AND HAPPINESS

If we can find that balance of contentment with what we have, and the desire to improve ourselves and our lives then we find happiness is a natural consequence. When it gets out of balance then dissatisfaction takes the place of contentment and we lose our sense of being happy with what we have. So, let's stop envying and competing and let's start finding contentment and the happiness with what we already have and all that comes hand in hand with it.

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19 comments

  1. Being contented is the most important part isn't it Leanne. If we are contented with ourselves and our lives we are naturally happier and enjoy life more. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us at #BloggersPitStop and have a beautiful weekend.

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    1. You're right Sue - I think it's one of the fundemental basics for happiness - discontent breeds misery and sets us up for unhappiness.

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  2. Contentment is definitely a choice we make - whether we are happy or not, we choose it. You're so right - gratitude for where we are and the life we have is the key. I've reached an age where experience has taught me this truth (over and over), yet I still need a refresher now and again. Thank you for writing this.

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  3. I love your phrase..."I'm not going to drain my contentment..." because I think that is exactly what we do. Most of us probably wake up content, and then let the day fill us with thinking the grass sure seems greener on the other side. Yes, Leeanne, it's a choice, and we can do it every day. This does not mean that the 'itch' of trying other things isn't also good, but basking in contentment sure has it's rewards! Great post!

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    1. I think we all need to keep growing and moving forward Cathy - but not by trying to keep up with the Joneses or because we think someone else's grass is greener. It's about finding what we love but not killing ourselves in striving after everything that tempts us.

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  4. The value of contentment is even greater in these years. Back in my youth, drama was what I thrived on but not today.
    Carol C

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    1. I've been surrounded by drama for the last couple of years at work Carol and I can tell you now that I'm over it big time - peace and contentment win hands down!

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  5. Hi Leanne! This is one of your best posts yet and so very important. When we are happy with ourselves and our own lives we can celebrate and appreciate what everyone else is doing, what they have, and who they are. Unfortunately, if we are "un-content" or unhappy with ourselves we do see everything a a competition that we must compete with to feel good. You explain this deep truth so well and the sooner we are able to understand this, the better our lives will be. Thank you for this! ~Kathy

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    1. What a lovely compliment - thanks so much Kathy. You're right about lack of happiness and contentment in our own lives making us hanker after what others have - it's a really sad way to live life isn't it?

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  6. Oh, I SO agree with this! This is the best post you've ever done! (And that's saying something!) I see, daily, family members who are always looking beyond the mark. I'll be content when . . .
    Contentment, like happiness, are in the daily living. Not in looking over the fence or into the future.

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    1. Thanks so much Diane! I see it in my own family too - the "if I had more money" "if my inheritance came early" "if I got a new ....." then I'd be happy and I don't think they ever will be, because there is always something else to chase after - what a waste of life (and money!)

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  7. Age and life circumstances have taught me this very lesson. The best things learned always seem to be the hardest to swallow. It all works out in the end, but our mind and our hearts must be directed to the light, to the bright and to the beautiful. It's always there. Just waiting. Great share.

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    1. That was beautifully said Tammy - the ugliness of greed and competition are the antithesis of happiness aren't they? I know which I'd pick - and you're right about life teaching you these lessons!

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  8. It has taken some effort but I have learned to embrace this choice. I fall down occasionally, but I get back up fairly quickly! Such contentment creates happiness.

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    1. I think we all get sucked into discontent occasionally Nancy - it's the ability to recognize it and to move forward and away from it that ultimately creates happiness for us.

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  9. I find it difficult to choose contentment. I always want to be off travelling but am just not able to at the moment. I am working toward contentment but it's at the end of a long road I fear. Loved your tips on Lifestyle Fifty.

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    1. It's hard when you know you want to be doing something else isn't it Jan? But if we focus on what we can't have it just grows that unsettledness and discontent - I think we need to be in the moment more and enjoy what we have - knowing there is more to come down the track!

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  10. I'm just reading a lighthearted novel by Carol E Wyer called "Life Swap" - a lovely light read but with a serious message woven into it. Highly recommended. Being content with your life - easier said than done - but I hope I've mastered that lesson of life now 😊

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    1. I've read a couple of novels about people swapping lives Linda and it never seems to work out too well for them. I think (as tempting as it is to envy others) that being content with what we have really is the key to long lasting happiness.

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